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Lewis Porter (piano), Furio di Castri (double-bass) and Fabrizio Sferra (drums) rehearsed for only fifty minutes before they went onstage and played in Siena, Italy on July 29, 2006. Porter says that they played like old friends. That's true. The empathy between them is remarkable and makes for a delightful concert.
The music is presented unedited and in the sequence it was played. It's a balanced program of what Porter calls the experimental and the lyrical. Despite these divergences, there is a parallel between the two. Each of the musicians brings an enterprising vision and an edge to even the most lyrical of tunes, a prime examples being "Lester Young Samba.
Porter can indulge in a melody and draw it out, exposing its spell charmingly. He illuminates his runs with little spaces and in a welter of notes that tumble and roar. He also has a penchant for unleashing a thunderous chord unexpectedly, but it sits perfectly in the frame of his progression. The impact is made complete by di Castri and Sferra, the former a rudder, the latter flexing the rhythm and then coming up with an earthy, solid spell on his own.
Wine Hot/Three as One was totally improvised. The near eleven-minute track is almost equally divided between a bass solo and trio outing. "Wine Hot is nicely worked, Di Castri giving it a wisp of melody, his notes lustrous and his playing unhurried as he commands attention. "Three as One is the symbiosis of the individuals that make up this whole, and a constant fount of surprise. The bass yowls, the drums shimmer to a scattershot rhythm, the strings of the piano are plucked. Tempo changes, a flit of melody, a drawing back to let space take a breath; nothing is static.
Again and Again (ii-V-I), a lovely ballad, is perfectly mainstream. Porter weaves a rich melodic tapestry, his vivid colors brushed with a flurry or daubed with resolute emphasis. Di Castri and Sferra firm the tune with their dexterity.
Track Listing: Blues for Siena; Cherokee Variation; A Summer Night; Wine Hot/Three as One; Body and Soul; Lester Young Samba; Again and Again (ii-V-I).
Personnel: Lewis Porter: piano; Furio di Castri: double-bass; Fabrizio Sferra: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.